Makino, Auer, Newey join Super Formula rookie test
Formula 2 race winner Tadasuke Makino, DTM convert Lucas Auer and Formula 1 design legend Adrian Newey’s son Harrison are among drivers confirmed for Super Formula’s traditional end-of-season rookie test at Suzuka.
As reported by Motorsport.com, the Super Formula driver line-up is set for a major shake-up over the winter, with several major changes expected in both Honda and Toyota camps.
In the preliminary entry list released on Thursday morning, Auer and Newey are slated to test for the B-Max operation which is tying up with European squad Motopark.
As part of their agreement, one of the team’s car will run in Red Bull livery, and it is understood that Auer's car will sport the Austrian energy drink brand's famous colours.
However, for the purpose of the test, B-Max/Motopark will only run a single car.
Meanwhile, Makino will test for Nakajima Racing, essentially taking over from Narain Karthikeyan, who is likely to switch over to the Super GT series.
The 21-year-old Honda protege will be joined by Alex Palou, who tested for Nakajima Racing last year as well but opted to race in European F3 instead.
Elsewhere, European F3 frontrunner Ralf Aron will test for Toyota-powered Team LeMans squad alongside 17-year-old Renault Eurocup racer Charles Milesi.
The two drivers will share LeMans’ #7 car, with the team’s 2017-18 race driver Kazuya Oshima splitting running in the #8 machine with Japanese F3 driver Yoshiaki Katayama.
Among other changes, Sho Tsuboi will get to test for the front-line Inging squad after his dominant run in this year’s Japanese F3 championship and a debut podium in the Super GT series.
Tsuboi will have a strong benchmark in the form of Hiroaki Ishiura, who beat Pierre Gasly to the 2017 title by half a point and also won the 2015 championship.
Several teams are yet to announce their driver line-up for the test, including Dandelion, Mugen and Real Racing.
Defending Super Formula and Super GT champion Naoki Yamamoto has been linked with a move to Dandelion Racing, with Red Bull protege Dan Ticktum likely to join his former squad Mugen in full-time capacity.
TOM’S has one vacant seat, with Le Mans 24 Hours Kazuki Nakajima being the only driver confirmed by the multiple championship-winning team.
Kondo Racing remains the only team on the grid to field both their 2018 race drivers in the test, with championship runner-up Nick Cassidy and Kenta Yamashita both confirmed for the two-day running between December 5-6.
Kamui Kobayashi, too, will remain with the single-car KCMG squad for the test.
All teams will test with the now-obsolete SF14 car, as deliveries for the next generation SF19 are only expected to begin in January 2019.
Rookie test line-up so far:
|3||Nick Cassidy||Kondo Racing|
|38||Hiroaki Ishiura||Inging |
|64||Alex Palou||Nakajima Racing|
Markelov closing on 2019 Super Formula move
Cassidy to test for TOM'S in Super Formula test